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Nurses to give drink advice

10th January 2013

Nurses and other health professionals are to be trained to counsel patients in a bid to stem the rise in alcohol-related injuries and illness in Wales.

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Early indications from trials suggest that nurses being used to talk to patients who return to hospital after a drink-related injury about the dangers are having an impact.

Now, the initiative is being rolled out across Wales, where there are some 1,200 hospital admissions every week that can be attributed to alcohol.

The “Have a Word” campaign has been developed by Cardiff University with the Welsh government and Public Health Wales.

The university’s Violence Research Group carried out trials working with nurses who remove stitches following alcohol-related injury and found that advice given to patients in that way was highly effective.

The move differs to that adopted in England, where dedicated alcohol workers were being appointed.

Professor Jonathan Shepherd, director of the research group and professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery at the university’s school of dentistry, said the trials showed that 20-25% of people shifted from hazardous levels of drinking to safer levels of drinking in the longer term.

He added: “A brief intervention is a structured conversation between the patients and the nurse, known to motivate the patient to change their drinking behaviour.

“The aims are to prompt the patient to recognise the harm which their drinking has caused, especially the wound being treated, to review their drinking; to set themselves drinking limits and to make and act on decisions to reduce their hazardous drinking.”

 

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